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Nasarawa Under Al-Makura, A Pariah State; State is Under Al-Makura’s Dictatorial Ruling- Suspended Six Lawmakers

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The six members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, who were suspended by the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, today lambasted Governor Al-Makura as well as the State Assembly.

According to the six lawmakers who now goes under the name G6 Lawmakers Forum of Nasarawa State, said stated thus; “We held and still hold that this is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended. The combined effect of Section 7(1) and 7(6)(b) guarantees a democratically elected system of Local Government Councils and vests power in the State Assembly over the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of the Councils.”

According to the group, it said that the state under Al-Makura is a Pariah State, and that the state is under dictatorship; “Nasarawa state is fast becoming both a pariah and a dictatorship covered in democratic apparel as an overbearing Chief Executive supremely wields both Executive and Legislative powers with a few tele-guided members of the Legislature.”

Speaking further in the statement signed by the six lawmakers, they said accused the governor of having penchant for disregard existing laws; “It is crucial to state here that the Governor appears to have a penchant for disregarding existing laws in carrying out his duties touching on matters of state. This same scenario played out in 2011 when His Excellency at the time, unilaterally carried out similar appointments without recourse to the 4th assembly. Incidentally, the present Deputy Speaker (PDP) was at that time, the Majority Leader of the House. The 4th Assembly withstood the Governor until he went back on his illegal act and dissolved the then appointees. A quick amendment was made to the extant Local Government Law to pave way for the appointment of a five-man Caretaker Committee for Local Governments upon recourse to the House, pending elections. This law, assented to by the Governor, has neither been set aside nor repealed. The question is; why did the Governor turn blind eyes to it? Perhaps lone administrators, Sole administrators, would deliver on the ‘Job’.”

In their press releases, the six lawmakers said that the Governor should be called to order as he is ruining the institution of democracy in the entire state.

“We wish to state unequivocally that he who is down fears no fall. How Local Government Councils have been denied the full benefit of their allocations from the Federation account, with their staff being paid salaries in percentages; Local Government staff collect their cheques from the State capital through the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs when His Excellency, Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura, openly said Joint Account for LGCs no longer exists, calls for concern. We stand against this payment in percentages and we vehemently call for the settlement of all outstanding salaries owed local government workers

We challenge the Executive arm of the government of Nasarawa State to openly publish bank tellers containing amounts deposited by it to the credit of each local government in the state starting from June 2015 till date, as disbursed by the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee month by month in favour of each local government. If no abuse is seen from the disbursement by the state government to the various local government accounts, we undertake, as honourable men, to resign and surrender our mandates.

We should note that in the future to come the truth will reveal itself, where as of now the state still owes Local Government staff, backlog of salaries despite a bailout fund of N18b fully accessed by the State. The suspicious utilization of bailout funds shrouded in mystery when retirees still languish in penury without gratuities and pensions; the monumental lies surrounding the cargo airport project at Kwandare; the myriads of extra-budgetary projects littering the state; the award of contracts to highly suspicious companies in clear breach of due process and without recourse to the State Executive Council (SEC) and more, are reasons we, as representatives of the people, cannot afford to remain mute.”

See The Full Press Release below:

G6 LAWMAKERS FORUM OF NASARAWA STATE

No. 1, Antau Plaza,

Akwanga Road,

Keffi,

Nasarawa State.

PRESS RELEASE

THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FRACAS IN NASARAWA STATE: THE TRUE POSITION

A month has passed since the alleged suspension of six members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly now called the Group of Six (G6). As loyal party members, we consulted with the leadership of our part, the APC, from the ward to the national level with a view to complying with the provisions of the party’s constitution regarding the complete exhaustion of internal mechanisms for conflict resolution before taking any such matter outside the confines of party hierarchy.

Having failed to resolve the issue that led to the fracas, we deem it necessary to issue this press release.

This press release therefore has become imperative in view of the conflicting positions fed to Nigerians and the good people of Nasarawa State concerning the fracas that occurred in the Nasarawa State House of Assembly on the 4th of April, 2016.

We the undersigned members, herein after referred to as the Group of Six (G6) Lawmakers, have been diligently undertaking our legislative duties after the June 2015 proclamation by the Governor of Nasarawa State Umaru Tanko Almakura and have been overcoming all problems whether good or bad in the interest of the state.

It is to be noted that the State House of Assembly, has 19 APC members and 5 PDP members giving a composition of 24 members.

Nigerians and the good people of Nasarawa State, not to be in doubt of the fracas in the State Assembly, being that several contradictory reasons were proffered by the Assembly leadership, we (G6) wish to state categorically that, the nucleus of the current problem bothers on the appointment of Sole Administrators by the Executive Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura on the 1st of April 2016.

We held and still hold that this is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended. The combined effect of Section 7(1) and 7(6)(b) guarantees a democratically elected system of Local Government Councils and vests power in the State Assembly over the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of the Councils.

It was on the strength of the above constitutional provisions that the House of Assembly, knowing that the tenure of Local Government Councils and Chairmen would elapse on the 24th day of March, 2016, passed a resolution in January, 2016, urging the Governor to commence the process of election. In the same vein, the State independent Electoral Commission also officially notified the Governor.

The silence of the Governor over the issue necessitated the House of Assembly to pass another resolution on Monday, 21st day of March 2016, re-emphasizing the impending termination of the tenure of elected local government officials.  There were permutations for tenure elongation that ensued but this was brought to an end by a Judgment on an Originating Summons, delivered by Justice J.G Abundaga on 23rd  March, 2016.

Following the Assembly’s stand, the Governor in the late hours of 24th March, 2016 upon the expiration of the tenure of the elected chairmen and councilors, through his Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs, Hon. Aliyu Tijjani, directed Local Government Chairmen to submit their official vehicles at the state headquarters, Lafia.

Discussions between members of the APC, who have an overwhelming majority in the Assembly, (19 out of 24) with the state party leadership concerning the setting up of a temporary machinery to run the affairs of local Government took place, considering the obvious fact that elections have not been conducted to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. The understanding then was to apply the 2011 law, which provides for the transitional management committee pending the conduct of elections.

As if to spite and denigrate the institution of the legislature, the Executive Governor on the 1st of April, 2016 through the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs announced the appointment of the same elected Chairmen, with the exception of a negligible few, as Sole Administrators.

There was no recourse whatsoever by the Governor to the House of Assembly as envisaged by the Constitution, to allow the house debate and proffer solutions. Some of the questions we raised were: Under what law were the Sole administrators appointed?; Under what Law would their emoluments be determined?; What Law spells out their tenure of office?; When they commit offences, what Law provides for disciplinary steps to be taken against them? The Sole administrators have no legal basis whatsoever to either exist or function therefore they lack foundation on which to stand.

We condemned and still condemn this illegality and we call for a reversal of this ill-advised decision.

The Governor, in flagrant abuse of the exalted office of Chief Executive of the State, usurped the powers of the legislature and arrogated same to himself by unilaterally adopting a principle of law strange to our laws which he termed ‘the doctrine of necessity’; thereby ridiculing the doctrine of separation of powers between the Legislature and Executive as encapsulated in our Constitution. Questions also raised were: The doctrine of necessity is it the prerogative of the executive or legislature? Does the Governor have the power to invoke the said doctrine?

The wide spread criticism within the state against the appointment necessitated the Governor to call members for a meeting at Transcorp Hilton Hotel at Abuja where most members, including the G6, did not attend.

An ugly coincidence on 4th April 2016, that is worthy of note was the ill health of the substantive Speaker, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe, thereby creating room for the Deputy Speaker (PDP) widely acclaimed as the Governor’s stooge, to take over the affairs of the Assembly. In the course of discussion amongst members at the Executive session, members of the G6 totally disagreed with the Governor’s multiple illegal acts and felt duty bound to ensure that the provisions of the constitution and the Laws of the State are respected. In view of this we roundly condemned the appointments.

It is crucial to state here that the Governor appears to have a penchant for disregarding existing laws in carrying out his duties touching on matters of state. This same scenario played out in 2011 when His Excellency at the time, unilaterally carried out similar appointments without recourse to the 4th assembly. Incidentally, the present Deputy Speaker (PDP) was at that time, the Majority Leader of the House. The 4th Assembly withstood the Governor until he went back on his illegal act and dissolved the then appointees. A quick amendment was made to the extant Local Government Law to pave way for the appointment of a five-man Caretaker Committee for Local Governments upon recourse to the House, pending elections. This law, assented to by the Governor, has neither been set aside nor repealed. The question is; why did the Governor turn blind eyes to it? Perhaps lone administrators, Sole administrators, would deliver on the ‘Job’.

At the floor of the House, on the 4th of April, 2016, a motion for our suspension initially failed. What should have been a normal House discussion at the plenary, erupted into a fracas precipitated by another apologist of the Governor, Hon Muluku Aga (PDP). We urge Nigerians and the good people of Nasarawa State to review the video clip already in the public domain, which depicts clearly that it was Hon. Muluku that first delivered a near fatal blow and also Hon Mohammed Alkali (PDP) that first carried a table and not one of us (APC).

After the fracas and the adjournment of the House indefinitely, about the same time, we were invited by the SSS to their office, and while on our way, the Acting Speaker quickly reconvened the House within minutes and presided over a pseudo proceeding, effecting a purported suspension in complete negation of the House’s laid down procedures and convention, all in a bid to gratify the Governor’s long nursed desire of balkanizing and totally disintegrating the institution of the legislature which he has always feared as a threat to his much loved acts of impunity.

On the 11th of April, 2016, in furtherance of the machination to erode the sanctity of the House and to further entrench discord and apathy amongst members of the APC in the House, two of the members of G6 were relieved of the Principal offices held by them and in addition all the 6 members of the G6 were relieved of House Committee Chairmanship they held, as a fallout of their insistence on the Rule of Law and adherence to due process. Nasarawa state is fast becoming both a pariah and a dictatorship covered in democratic apparel as an overbearing Chief Executive supremely wields both Executive and Legislative powers with a few tele-guided members of the Legislature.

We have no regret as we stand by the constitution. We are under oath to protect and defend same. Any apparent set back as a result of the purported suspension is temporal, as we still have our mandate, we shall continue our advocacy for ensuring that we run a constitutional government in Nasarawa State. As a matter of interest, why is the Governor trying to destabilize the state, when he has 19 APC members out of 24 members. We have no desire to bring instability to APC Government in Nasarawa State.

The Governor should be called to order as he is ruining the institution of democracy in the entire state.

We wish to state unequivocally that he who is down fears no fall. How Local Government Councils have been denied the full benefit of their allocations from the Federation account, with their staff being paid salaries in percentages; Local Government staff collect their cheques from the State capital through the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs when His Excellency, Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura, openly said Joint Account for LGCs no longer exists, calls for concern. We stand against this payment in percentages and we vehemently call for the settlement of all outstanding salaries owed local government workers

We challenge the Executive arm of the government of Nasarawa State to openly publish bank tellers containing amounts deposited by it to the credit of each local government in the state starting from June 2015 till date, as disbursed by the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee month by month in favour of each local government. If no abuse is seen from the disbursement by the state government to the various local government accounts, we undertake, as honourable men, to resign and surrender our mandates.

We should note that in the future to come the truth will reveal itself, were as of now the state still owes Local Government staff, backlog of salaries despite a bailout fund of N18b fully accessed by the State. The suspicious utilization of bailout funds shrouded in mystery when retirees still languish in penury without gratuities and pensions; the monumental lies surrounding the cargo airport project at Kwandare; the myriads of extra-budgetary projects littering the state; the award of contracts to highly suspicious companies in clear breach of due process and without recourse to the State Executive Council (SEC) and more, are reasons we, as representatives of the people, cannot afford to remain mute.

Signed;

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